ESPN draft guru Chad Ford is up to his oldest tricks as he’s posted his seventh official mock draft, his second since the NBA lottery decided which teams would be picking where.
In the sixth version, Ford pegged the Clippers to select UCLA point-forward Kyle Anderson with the 28th overall pick. But following several draft workouts and more insight on what front offices may do, Ford has the Clippers selecting Missouri point guard Jordan Clarkson with their lone 2014 NBA draft pick.
Clarkson has been helping himself as much as any player in the draft with strong workouts. He has great size for his position and he he’s been shooting the ball much better. With Darren Collison hitting the free-agent market, Clarkson could be a nice replacement.
For some general overview on how draft experts view Clarkson, here are some rankings across the internet:
- NBA Draft Net 2014 Big Board – 23rd overall (6th ranked shooting guard)
- Chad Ford Top 100 – 29th overall (7th ranked point guard)
- Basketball Insiders Top 100 Draft Prospects – 47th overall
- Draft Express Top 100 Prospects – 47th overall (8th ranked point guard)
- SB Nation Big Board – 51st overall
- CBS 2014 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings – 53rd overall (15th ranked shooting guard)
As Ford mentioned, Darren Collison’s expected exit leaves the Clippers with a hole at the point guard position and Clarkson, if selected by the Clippers, could fill that void. Like many of the guards entering the NBA in today’s game, the line between point guard and shooting guard is a tad-bit blurred, but we’ve seen several players who would’ve been shooting guards in the previous era–Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, etc.–succeed at the point guard position. Clarkson could be one of those players as mock drafts struggle pinning him to a specific position.
Based on several scouting reports and game footage, Clarkson’s strengths would fit well in the Clippers system. At 6-foot-5, Clarkson would add versatility to the reserve unit. He’s penned as an excellent ball-handler for his size and his ability to score from several spots on the floor is praised by scouts. His one weakness, the lack of a consistent outside shooting touch, seems to be improving as the draft nears closer per ESPN’s Draft profile:
Clarkson was impressive at both the draft combine and in workouts he recently had for NBA teams in New York. His length and athletic ability for his position were never in doubt, and he’s been shooting the ball much better and reminding scouts why they loved him early in the season. He’s been slowly moving back up a number of draft boards and is now in the range between Memphis at No. 22 and the early second round.
There are issues pertaining to whether Clarkson is a true point guard, but at such a young age, that can be corrected through constant repetition. It’s also yet to be seen whether he has the foot speed to keep up with the explosive point guards the NBA is littered with today, but with his height and length, he’ll find a way to figure it out.
Would he be a good pick for the Clippers? Only if they think there isn’t a better alternative in free agency, but he seems solid enough to fill in the role Collison has left empty.
During Clarkson’s lone season at Missouri–spent his first two collegiate seasons at Tulsa–the combo guard averaged 17.5 points on 44 percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assist per game, along with a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.2.